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Empowering, challenging and rewarding: solo travel is on the rise according to a 2016 survey in which 51% of respondents said they would be going it alone on their next trip. With a growing number of these lone explorers being women (something that can provoke mixed reactions as they are often perceived to be more vulnerable than their male counterparts), we’ve got a handy guide that will convince you to take the plunge in the safest countries for solo female travellers.
A backpacker favourite, Australia is an enormous country that always has more to discover. Whether you’re into flashy cities like Brisbane or Sydney, chilled relaxation on sandy beaches, driving through miles of empty desert or trekking through the rainforest, you’ll be able to find your dream vacation here. The country’s abundant number of sociable hostels with female-only dorms and floors is perfect for solo women who may not feel comfortable sleeping in a mixed room, plus you’ll meet other like-minded ladies to hang around with.
If you’re looking for a truly unique travel experience, then Japan is the destination for you. Coming in at number 10 on the 2017 Global Peace Index, Japan combines cutting edge modern technology and design with traditional cultural heritage like nowhere else in the world. You can safely get around the country via the ultra-smooth and efficient bullet trains, famed for their speed and punctuality. Other highlights include trying out the local cuisine, hiking through the mountains that make up two thirds of the country and exploring the bustling hubs of cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa.
Relaxed, friendly and easy to navigate, the Netherlands is a great place to ease yourself into travelling alone. Head to Amsterdam—not only is it arguably the most popular city for visitors but it also came in at number six on the 2017 Safe Cities Index. Hire a bike and have a scenic cycle through Vondelpark or immerse yourself in culture at the Rijksmuseum. If you’d rather steer away from the tourist hotspots, venture outside the capital to quieter locations such as Rotterdam or Utrecht. The former boasts open urban spaces, whereas the latter features beautiful ecclesiastical architecture.
Canada is best known for being vast, wild and led by a Prime Minister who most of the world seems to fancy. It is most definitely the perfect destination for outdoorsy adventurous types with a variety of awe-inspiring landscapes that serve as a beautiful backdrop to whatever adrenaline-fuelled sport strikes your interest. The variety of group tours available around the country means that if you’re nervous about being on your own, you can easily see the sights with company and make a whole new group of traveling buddies while you’re at it.
For those who love chocolate and stunning scenery, there’s no better destination than Switzerland. Its political stability and neutrality in global conflicts have helped to cement its position in the top ten most peaceful countries worldwide, making it a great place to explore for solo female travellers. Thrill seekers can enjoy skiing down some of the best slopes in the world, while those who prefer a calmer holiday can indulge with luxury chocolate and cheese. Be sure to pack a camera as the country boasts numerous beautiful landscapes and is home to the Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world.
With a varied and tumultuous history, the Czech Republic is an increasingly popular holiday destination and its capital city of Prague is the perfect location for a European city break. It is relatively cheap compared to other cities on the continent: travel is inexpensive, eating out is reasonable and best of all, a pint of beer will set you back just £1.14 on average (according to Expatistan). The city boasts stunning historical architecture and many hostels run free walking tours, which is a great way to see the sights if you’re reluctant to explore alone.
Though it consistently tops the Global Peace Index, the safety of Iceland won’t be the only reason why you’re compelled to pay it a visit. A geographer’s dream, it lies on two tectonic plates, meaning that it is a hive of geothermal and volcanic activity and has beautiful glaciers and lakes. Must-do’s include soaking in the natural hot springs, catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights and walking through the ice tunnels inside one of the country’s largest glaciers, Langjökull.
With low crime rates and violence being a rarity, Croatia is a safe location for a sun-soaked getaway. Island hopping is a great way to see the country: there are relatively inexpensive boats that run between the islands and offer many different routes during the country’s high season, so you can tailor your trip to suit what you want to see. On Hvar, you can hire a boat and snorkel the secluded Paklinski Islands or visit Lastovo, the entirety of which is a national park. Game of Thrones fans should hurry to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which is famous for being an iconic filming location for the show.
Perhaps Denmark’s consistent position at the top of the UN World Happiness Report helps to explain why it’s one of the safest countries to visit. Along with its cheerful population, the country also boasts a laid-back way of life that makes for a truly relaxing vacation. Stroll around the unique hippie commune Christiania in Copenhagen, visit the iconic statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid or hire a bike to explore like a true local. You can even take a day trip to nearby Sweden, both by ferry and by crossing the Øresund Bridge that connects the two nations.
Whether you’re backpacking or staying in a 5-star luxury hotel, New Zealand is a beloved destination for solo female travellers. Its scenery is mind-blowing, the people are friendly and there’s a never-ending list of fun activities to take part in. Bus tours, like those offered by Kiwi Experience, are great for solo women because they let you stay with the people on your bus as you travel the country together and the knowledgeable drivers keep a watchful eye to make sure you stay safe.